July 16, 2024

Health experts urged the Food and Drug Administration to approve the second generation vaccine against dengue as cases increase nationwide.

Philippine Foundation for Vaccination Executive Director Lulu Bravo said Takeda, manufacturer of dengue vaccine, QDenga, has applied for FDA registration in the country.

“That has been applied for since last year and we have been waiting for that. As a vaccine investigator I will assure you the safety of the QDenga. We have been doing it for eight years now since 2016,” she said.

“It can be given to those who have not had dengue which is different from the previous first generation dengue vaccine in that it was meant to be given only to those who had previous dengue,” she said.

Citing the Philippines has the four serotypes of dengue virus, Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) president and infectious disease expert Rontgene Solante said children and senior citizens are prone to having dengue especially now that effects of climate change are more evident.

“When you get infected by the first serotype, you are not immune for other three serotypes, so, ibig sabihin pwede ka pang ma-dengue paulit-ulit,” he said.

He said the country has been practicing vector surveillance, vector management, vector control, patient education, and disease management since the first dengue epidemic surge in 1954.

While these practices have helped reduce possibilities of epidemic, Solante said vaccination could help prevent future problems related with the disease.

“Less ang ma-o-ospital. If we give vaccine, tandaan natin ha, ang benefit ng bakuna is not only protecting you from dengue, it is protecting you against the severe form of dengue so you don’t get hospitalized,” he said.

Philippine Medical Association (PMA) president Hector Santos, Jr. said the rising number of dengue cases serves as a reminder of the urgent need for a unified front in the battle against the disease.

Latest data from the Department of Health show a concerning increase in reported dengue cases compared to the previous year, with 59,267 cases from Jan. 1 to May 4.

This figure surpassed the 45,722 cases reported in the same period.

According to the World Health Organization, there are over 7.6 million reported cases of dengue as of April 30, 2024.

Dengue is caused by a virus that Aedes mosquitoes spread to people. Its symptoms include high fever (40 degrees Celsius), severe headache, muscle and joint pains, nausea, rashes, pain behind the eyes, vomiting, and swollen glands.

Some cases develop into severe dengue with symptoms like shock, severe bleeding or severe organ impairment.

To achieve zero-dengue deaths by 2030, the PMA together with the PCP and the Philippine Pediatric Society held the First Dengue Summit Tuesday.

The summit promotes unified commitment and action from stakeholders, strengthen surveillance and response, improve awareness through education and collaboration, and advocate research and innovation to prevent dengue, including vaccination.

“Prevention is most important. We’re on the medical doctor’s involvement to prevent the vector from growing bigger, which is seasonal, usually growing from May to December, we’re planning preparedness and prevention,” Santos said. – PNA